We can all agree that food delivery services make people’s lives easier. Whether you don’t have time to cook or just want to relax and eat something tasty, ordering food online can come in handy. Therefore, it’s no wonder that ghost kitchens are so popular these days.
If you’re not familiar with the term “ghost kitchen,” it’s a restaurant without a traditional dining room or counter for guests. It exists to fulfill online orders for delivery, and the idea is that cloud kitchens can be set up in more affordable locations than those typically used for restaurants. They’re also called dark kitchens, virtual kitchens, cloud kitchens, or shadow kitchens.
Convinced you need to know more about cloud kitchens? We’ve got you covered! We’ve put together a list of amazing cloud kitchen statistics that will help you better understand what they are and how they’re revolutionizing the food industry.
Key Ghost Kitchen Trends, Stats, and Facts (Editor’s Pick)
- Ghost kitchens are projected to hold a 50% share of the world’s drive-thru and takeaway foodservice markets.
- Food delivery orders increased by 67% in March 2020.
- There are around 1,500 ghost kitchens in the US.
- In 2020, Uber Eats’ revenue was more than 100% higher than in 2019.
- 34% of Americans order takeout or delivery at least twice a week.
- 21% of people who order food online buy sandwiches and wraps.
- The startup cost for a ghost kitchen is $20,000 to 30,000.
- In the fourth quarter of 2021, DoorDash customers spent roughly $309 per person.
- Even the smallest mistakes can cost ghost kitchen owners over $10,000.
Ghost Kitchen Industry Statistics (Global Market, and Revenues)
1. The global ghost kitchen market is projected to be worth $71.4 billion by 2027.
According to Statista’s ghost kitchen industry report, the worldwide ghost kitchen market size was $43.1 billion in 2019. As it’s estimated to exceed $71 billion by 2027, we don’t have to question the popularity of ghost kitchens.
The total market share of drive-thru foodservice and takeaway foodservice will most likely reach $75 billion and $250 billion, respectively.
Ghost kitchens will hold 50% of both markets. Apart from that, they’re most likely to account for 35% of ready meal, 30% of packed cooking ingredient, 25% of eat-in foodservice, and 15% of packaged snack markets by 2030.
3. Ghost kitchens could be a $1 trillion market by 2030.
Euromonitor’s data suggest that the global ghost kitchen market size is very likely to reach a shocking $1 trillion by 2030. It’s important to note that the worldwide foodservice delivery sales more than doubled between 2014 and 2019 and that the coronavirus pandemic contributed to a further increase in sales.
Online ordering helped many restaurants in March 2020. Fine dining sales dropped by over 90% when the coronavirus pandemic started, while casual dining sales decreased by 75%. On the other hand, Ghost kitchens saw a tremendous increase in profits.
Other contributors to cloud kitchens’ rise were increased app usage, lockdowns, and reduced consumer spending because of a recession.
5. China has the largest number of ghost kitchens.
Ghost kitchen research reveals that there are approximately 7,500 ghost kitchens in China. India is right behind China, with more than 3,500 kitchens. Apart from that, statistics show that 47% of the Chinese survey respondents had a quite positive or positive experience ordering food from a ghost kitchen or virtual restaurant.
US Ghost Kitchen Statistics
6. There are roughly 1,500 ghost kitchens in the US.
When the number of ghost kitchens is in question, the US is right behind China and India. The UK is also worth mentioning, as it has about 750 ghost kitchens. However, we can expect other countries to open more virtual restaurants in the future.
7. In 2020, Uber Eats’ revenue was over 100% higher than in 2019.
Uber Eats and Grubhub saw a 100% and 40% increase in revenues, respectively. Also, ghost kitchen trends point out that the delivery orders increased almost 70% in March 2020, while overall restaurant traffic dropped by 22%.
8. The number of those who use smartphone food delivery apps in the US is projected to reach 53.9 million by 2023.
Even though some virtual kitchens have their own delivery services, most rely on third-party food delivery apps. Data suggests that the number of food delivery app users increased from 36.4 million users in 2019 to more than 45 million in 2020. Furthermore, it’s estimated that this growth will continue by 2023.
9. 60% of those who ordered food online between March and May 2020 did so through the restaurant’s app or website.
Even if one of the most prominent ghost kitchen trends is ordering from third-party apps, 60% of people ordered directly from restaurants, while only 40% did so through food delivery apps. That’s encouraging because ghost kitchens earn more if you order directly from them.
Ghost Kitchen Demographics and Popular Trends
10. 60% of Americans order takeout or delivery or once a week.
Apart from those who order food once a week, 31% say they use these third-party delivery services at least twice per week, while 34% of all consumers spend at least $50 per order. One interesting fact is that 59% of all restaurant orders from millennials are delivery or takeout.
There’s a high possibility that the growth of ghost kitchens will lead to automation of the production of certain menu items. For example, the production of pizza, coffee, and ramen could be fully automated in the next five to ten years.
12. 21% of people who buy food online order sandwiches and wraps.
The most popular dishes that people order online are wraps and sandwiches. Apart from that, 10% of consumers order burgers, 9% pizza, and 7% salads. BBQ is the least popular dish, as only 2% of consumers opt for it.
13. On a global scale, 52% of consumers are comfortable ordering from a delivery-only restaurant.
As many ghost kitchen trends for 2021 and 2022 reveal, more than 50% of consumers have no problem ordering from a restaurant with no physical storefront.
Nevertheless, it appears that some people are still skeptical about cloud kitchens and would rather order from regular restaurants that have a delivery option.
14. Only 6% of those who order online spend up to $300 per order.
We’ve already mentioned that 34% of consumers spend around $50 per order. However, 6% spend up to $300 and 14% up to $100. In addition, 1% of consumers reported not spending anything, while none would order food that costs more than $300.
Statistics About Ghost Kitchen Startups and Companies
15. Ghost kitchens have 125 leading companies.
The latest statistics reveal that there are 125 leading companies in the ghost kitchen industry. They have 510 investors and have closed 306 deals. Some of the most famous ghost kitchens are DoorDash, Deliveroo, and Rebel Foods.
16. Karma Kitchen raised over €300 million in only one round of funding in July 2020.
A UK startup called Karma Kitchen is the most prominent cloud kitchen in Europe, and it’s one of the largest ghost kitchen companies. Other well-known European companies are Keatz and Frichti.
17. A majority of ghost kitchens report a $20,000-30,000 startup cost.
An average ghost kitchen startup investment is between $20,000 and $30,000, which isn’t a lot. Ghost kitchens usually have lower startup costs than regular restaurants. Also, most cloud kitchens pay around $4,000 to $6,000 in monthly fees.
18. Restaurants that cooperate with Reef Global can choose from 350+ locations in over 200 cities.
Reef Global has a unique way of making and delivering food. Its founder, Ari Ojalvo, operates modern kitchen trailers located in urban spaces, such as parking lots. Reef Global can determine what to sell and where, thanks to detailed data analytics.
19. Kitchen United has two locations in California and four in other US states.
Kitchen United is another popular virtual restaurant. It’s located in six places, while ten locations are under construction. As ghost kitchen statistics indicate, Kitchen United has a growing demand for its services, good marketing support, and technology for order tracking.
Other Noteworthy Ghost Kitchen Statistics
20. Even the slightest mistake can cost ghost kitchen owners more than $10,000.
Running a ghost kitchen is profitable. Still, like in every other business, owners should be careful not to make mistakes. Companies can easily lose thousands of dollars if they’re careless.
21. DoorDash customers spent around $309 per person in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Ghost kitchen trends reveal that those who ordered from DoorDash spent the most in the fourth quarter of 2021. The quarterly spending of Uber Eats’ customers was $239, while Postmates and Grubhub customers spent the least ($168 and $158, respectively).
22. Third-party food delivery services can have setup fees of up to $400.
(Fit Small Business)
Food delivery setup fees and commission rates represent some of the biggest expenses for a ghost kitchen business. Virtual restaurants must pay up to $400 to use third-party food delivery services. Furthermore, the commissions run between 10% and 40%.
Are ghost kitchens profitable?
Ghost kitchens are incredibly profitable. Since they only focus on food delivery, they generate huge profits at a low cost. Furthermore, it’s way easier to make money with ghost kitchens than restaurants.
However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Only those who’ve mastered managing the food, labor, and operational costs can expect profits. That’s why it’s crucial to optimize expenses, have menu pricing and marketing strategies, and not compete with pricing.
How do ghost kitchens work?
Ghost kitchens (also called cloud kitchens, but they go by many other names) don’t offer dine-in services. That means that you can only order online, and menus are only available to those who require their services.
Simply put, ghost kitchens sell food only through third-party apps or cooperate with regular restaurants. There are three types of ghost kitchens: commissary or shared kitchens, incubator or pop-up kitchens, and kitchen pods.
How big is the ghost kitchen market?
According to various sources, the ghost kitchen market is forecasted to reach $71.4 billion by 2027. Statistics also reveal that this market was worth $43.1 billion in 2019.
Since the coronavirus pandemic has started, many restaurants have been forced to turn to food delivery. That has contributed to the growth of the global ghost kitchen market.
How to open a ghost kitchen?
Firstly, you need to choose a concept and make a menu.
After that, write a business plan and source funding. A business plan is the first actionable step to starting a ghost kitchen. It’s also wise to find some restaurant financing tips and ask for advice.
The following steps are adhering to restaurant regulations and developing a distribution strategy and a marketing plan. For instance, you should create a website and build a social media presence.
Finally, you’re ready to open your cloud kitchen after employing workers.
How many ghost kitchens are there in the United States?
According to the latest statistics, there are currently around 1,500 cloud kitchens in the US. Apart from that, many regular restaurants now have delivery options through third-party apps.
That trend started in 2020, but it seems that it’s here to stay, as the majority of Americans who order food online state that it makes their life much easier. Moreover, judging by the data regarding ghost kitchens, we can assume that there will be even more of them in the upcoming years.
Why are ghost kitchens so popular?
The reasons for the popularity of ghost kitchens are mainly low startup and reduced overhead costs. Also, ghost restaurants can grant you access to a broader customer base if you have a streamlined delivery system, and your sales won’t be low when the foot traffic is. In addition to that, it’s possible to keep up with shifts in consumer behavior and dominate a particular food category.
Ghost kitchen statistics reveal that the food delivery market revenue has increased by over 200% during the last five years, proving that ghost kitchens and online delivery restaurants have become more popular.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through the surprising world of ghost kitchens! From their origins as a way for chefs to keep cooking during the pandemic to the rise of delivery-only kitchens in major cities, ghost kitchens have been able to adapt and grow during a time when many other industries have been struggling.
Many people around the world can’t imagine a life without food ordering, at least occasionally. We can’t blame them. Who doesn’t like getting their favorite meal delivered to their doors in less than an hour?
Although the main reason for the drastic increase in the cloud kitchen market size and revenues is the coronavirus pandemic, it’s evident that cloud kitchens will stay profitable even after it ends.
With all this innovation comes opportunity—an opportunity for ghost kitchen entrepreneurs, investors, and employees. There are also opportunities for restaurants looking to expand their reach without adding new locations or overhauling their existing model. With so much potential, it’s clear that ghost kitchen start-ups will continue to be an arena where a lot of exciting things happen over the coming years.
As the food industry continues to evolve, we’ll keep adding content to this post. So stay tuned!
Thank you for reading.